Writing, Offline

It’s hard to believe how long I have been missing in action from a blog that I love as much as this one. The fact is, not only was this the best blog I’ve ever had (number four!) but I had the best subject matter (seriously – it’s hard to name anything I like writing about more than, well, writing) and obviously, I had the best readers ever, namely, you guys!

Thank you for everything. Though I have not even visited this blog in more than two years, it has been in my mind and heart.

The last two years have been insane. I moved four times, once over 4000 miles away, once 1500 miles, the other two barely worth mentioning by comparison. (If you’re moving, call me. I’ll help you pack. I’m an expert.) Just prior to all this, my fiancé left me. More recently, I lost one of my closest friends, a truly wonderful though troubled soul who gave me the gift of introducing me to a number of fantastic people.

Happily, and most importantly, I HAVE BEEN WRITING! Fiction has taken a back seat, because when you’re living this much drama, who needs to write it? I had no internet access most of the time which limited me to writing offline.

I have changed. My writing has changed. Hell, name me one thing that hasn’t changed in the past two years.. but regardless. I still write, every day. I am blogging again. I still help others, and I still believe we can support and encourage each other so we can all be successful writers. I hope you’ll stick with me, because I know the best is yet to come.

I’ve discovered a new obsession – photography. I would like to invite you to visit my new website, Salmon Apple Pie – as a matter of fact, I would be very grateful if you would take a look! I plan for Salmon Apple Pie to become the new, updated, and expanded version of From the Desk of KH. I would like to support my fellow photographers as well as writers.

By the way, KH no longer exists. I have divorced my pseudonym. I have decided that anyone who doesn’t like what I’m writing -or photographing- can fuck off. I am me, and I AM A WRITER AND A PHOTOGRAPHER.

Some day, I hope I will even have my quirky and spastic blogging style back.

As always, thank you for reading my blog.

 

Score: Revisions – 1, Kim – 0

I finished writing my first novel over the summer. Dutifully, I sent copies off to my beta readers and waited patiently for their feedback. When I received their feedback, I worked on the problem areas they had pointed out. I sent it back to my trusted readers, but not to the one who advised me to scrap the whole thing and work on something else (oddly enough, she’s the only writer in my group of readers).

I felt pretty good about my novel. I don’t want to think about how much time I spent on it in the past 18 months since I started writing it. I’ve worked on other things during that time as well, but my focus kept returning, over and over, to this project. Tightening here, deepening there, deleting a character and adding a new one. In general, tinkering.

After the second round of revisions, I was starting to compile a nice Excel spreadsheet of agents, their websites, and a grade for each of them from 1 to 5 stars depending on how likely I think they are to want to work with me and my book (judging by genres they represent, if I know the agent or if I know someone who knows the agent, etc.). And then…

I thought of a brilliant alternative ending to my story.

Nothing will do but that I change and revise and tinker some more. But it will be worth it, because this ending, objectively, does make the book stronger and should address what my favorite beta reader (who is also my aunt) said: “It just lacks something.”

The good news is that I’m excited about revisions again. I normally do everything possible to put off revising my work. I like writing rough drafts. It’s fun to be able to type like hell and just throw words at the page. So what if I write a 2 paragraph description that gets scrapped later? That’s what revisions are for. Same goes for all of those transitions I didn’t write and just typed ADD SOMETHING HERE. And let’s not forget my least favorite – the note saying DO RESEARCH ON THIS.

My writing process is a little strange. What I call a “first draft” is actually my second draft, after one round of revisions. What most would call a first draft, I call prewriting because of the complete lack of organization. And I mentioned I do a lot of planning? Well, that actually takes place after the prewriting and before the first draft. And I name this the first draft because it’s the first complete draft that’s organized into chapters and completed with no idiot notes to myself lurking in the text.

Along the way I have had to convince myself that revisions aren’t boring. They require just as much creativity as writing the draft. If nothing else, at least I no longer dread revisions, even if they are getting the best of me this time. I know it will be worth it when I’m finished.

Procrastination: A Refresher Course

My favorite form of procrastination is cultivating hobbies. Lately I’ve started sewing. Not with a sewing machine, like a normal person. No, I’ve decided I want to learn how to quilt by hand. This is probably not one of my better ideas.

I don’t really know how to sew. In the last year, I’ve borrowed two different sewing machines from two different people and have been utterly baffled by how to use either one of them. I seem to be unable to make a straight seam with a machine. My seams always wander. So, armed with a needle and thread and a bunch of fat quarters of predominantly pink fabrics, I’m teaching myself how to sew. And I don’t even really like pink.

Because I’m me, that means I had to buy a book. Actually, I already owned two books about quilting, one of which inspired in me the desire to make a quilt. After this happened, I bought all the fabric and borrowed the first sewing machine. Then I returned it to its owner and borrowed the second, the learning curve for which I determined to be well above the length of my attention span. So, on one of my biweekly trips to Barnes and Noble, I discovered “Handsewn: the essential techniques for tailoring and embellishment” by Margaret Rowan. This book promptly came home with me and has been hanging out on my footstool with the quilting books.

Proving that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, I immediately tried to decide on a project that wouldn’t test my limited sewing abilities too much. But what to make? Finally, I decided on the one thing an obsessive reader can never have too many of: bookmarks. I picked the perfect size – 2 by 6 inches, chose my fabrics – one for the front, one for the back, making the bookmark reversible. That’s when the swearing started.

The bottom line is that a week later I have completed exactly one bookmark, but I have procrastinated on writing projects for seven days. So, if there’s a writing project you’re trying to put off, I suggest you try out a new hobby. One thing I learned from this experience is that writing is easy by comparison. Now that I am sick of sewing (For the moment. I know I’ll come back to it soon), I’m reading that first draft of my novel manuscript and I have edited and polished a couple short stories that I am hoping to enter in writing competitions.

Since July, I have been a “full time” writer. By that I mean I am not working due to a severe injury to my lower back. I decided then to put forth the effort to do something I have always wanted to do – complete a novel. With the first draft finished after a lot of days in a row of concentrated effort, I believe my brain needed a nice break, hence the sewing-procrastination week. Now I’m back to writing, feeling refreshed and open-minded. Time to start the next novel, I think.